#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2017
My bookvent countdown is at an end, but it doesn’t mean all the #booklove is over. I really, and I mean reaaaaaally, struggled to narrow my book list down to just the 26 I finally named in my #bookvent list. Since I started blogging, and especially this year, I have been so fortunate to be able to read some absolutely brilliant books and I’d love to be able to share all the #booklove all over again with pretty well each and every one of them. If, by some freakish chance, you are actually that desperate, I’d suggest trawling back through my reviews as I’d not really want to put anyone through all of that again 😉
That said, although they didn’t quite make my #bookvent countdown, there are a number of absolutely excellent books which need another shout out. Over the next few days I’m going to be sharing a little more of the #booklove with my favourite series, thrillers, biggest regrets and most anticipated reads of 2018. First up though, it’s time to shine a light on some more of the absolutely stonking books I managed to read in 2017.
In no particular order (well alphabetical by author but who is checking …)
A blood-red sunrise
Just after 7 AM DI Helen Grace stumbles on a dead woman lying in a country road. She has been brutally shot for no apparent reason.
Two hours later
At gunpoint a shopkeeper is forced to close up by two assailants. Before the police can get inside a single gunshot rings out.
A rampage of revenge?
Over one long day the town of Southampton is terrorized by two young killers who appear to be killing at random.
For DI Helen Grace, it’s a race against time. Uncover why they’re doing this and who’s next or always be a step behind – until the sun sets on this bloody killing spree.
Pacy, heart thumping action as Helen Grace finds her feet back amongst her team. Loved the way this was set over just one day but by golly the author didn’t skimp on the thrills. HIghly recommended.
When flames rip through their family home, only teenager Stephanie and her younger brother escape unhurt. Brett always liked to play with fire, but now their dad is dead and someone has to pay the price.
Psychologist Connie Summers wants to help Stephanie rebuild her life. She has a new name, a young son and everything to live for. But when Stephanie receives a letter from someone she’d hoped would never find her, Connie is forced to question what really happened that night. But some truths are better left alone . . .
Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Bad Sister will have fans of Sue Fortin, B A Paris and Linda Green hooked till the final page.
Really enjoyed this book and the way in which the author uses her experience to bring out a believable and yet very tense read set around the justice system and psychology. SO many moments to set you on edge.
Some secrets you can never tell.
Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family: grand London house, gorgeous kids.
They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.
Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?
A gripping psychological thriller that will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will be hooked.
From the very off this book had me intrigued. Moving back and forth between a rather grim Christmas day discovery and the days which led to it, there are some secrets that just shouldn’t be kept.
‘Let me out! Please …’ My tiny fists pound the door, but my voice reverberates off the stone walls and hangs in the air as if suspended by spider’s webs. No one comes…
Years later, a woman is found face-down in a pool of blood. Detective Lottie Parker is called to the remote farmhouse in the bleak Irish countryside. Inside, she finds a scene that speaks of uncontrollable rage: glasses smashed, chairs ripped apart, the woman’s body broken.
A black rain jacket makes Lottie think she knows the killer’s identity, but then she finds a disturbing clue: is the murder linked to an old case at St Declan’s asylum? A case investigated by her own father, just before he took his life.
When another victim is left without her tongue on the hospital steps, and a young girl goes missing, Lottie knows she has to act fast. Can she face her own demons and uncover the truth before another life is taken?
An absolutely gripping page-turner from the bestselling author of The Missing Ones and The Stolen Girls. If you love Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons or Robert Dugoni, you’ll be completely hooked.
Wowsers. This series has just been getting better and better and this book is the best of them yet. Tense and twisted, I loved it from start to finish and highly recommend the series.
When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister Poppy returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets.
Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India find out about her?
Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well- heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth…
Suspenseful, twisted and overwhelmingly authentic, this book is full of secrets and families dominated by lies, all of which end in tragedy. Loved it.
Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed.
Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered, Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all…
Picking up where the bestselling Wicked Game left off, Deadly Game sees Matt Johnson’s damaged hero fighting on two fronts. Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate.
Oh I do love me a good action thriller and this one was a belter. Set against a backdrop of the sex-slave industry, it was great to be back in the company of Robert Finlay. I’m really starting to like that guy. Highly recommended.
The enchanting new Baby Ganesh Agency novel sees Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick investigating the dark side of Bollywood.
Mumbai thrives on extravagant spectacles and larger-than-life characters.
But even in the city of dreams, there is no guarantee of a happy ending.
Rising star and incorrigible playboy Vikram Verma has disappeared, leaving his latest film in jeopardy. Hired by Verma’s formidable mother to find him, Inspector Chopra and his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, embark on a journey deep into the world’s most flamboyant movie industry.
As they uncover feuding stars, failed investments and death threats, it seems that many people have a motive for wanting Verma out of the picture.
And yet, as Chopra has long suspected, in Bollywood the truth is often stranger than fiction…
Who doesn’t love an elephant? Well this one is the greatest one of them all. Forget Dumbo, Baby Ganesha is the real star. With a story which had me spitting chips and holding my breath (no mean feat when done together) I absolutely loved this third book in the series. Moving, funny and just flipping well fabulous.
In a TV station run by men, how do the women make themselves heard?
Liz Lyon is a television producer at StoryWorld, the UK’s favourite morning show. Her job is stressful and demanding, but she is determined to show her teenage daughter that women can succeed.
Then a new female colleague joins the station. In this predatory climate of toxic masculinity Liz and Lori should be helping each other. But when Lori starts secretly building her power base with the bosses, Liz is desperate to know what’s going on behind her back…
If you ever wondered what it’s like to be a woman in a mans world … Strong female lead and a story which will make your blood boil while also respecting the main character all the more with every page turn. This was a fantastic read.
In London a young man stands accused of murder. All the evidence points to him; the police see an open and shut case.
But at his trial, this man, who has tried to stay out of trouble all his life, tells an extraordinary story. It is about a young woman who tried to protect her brother and got into terrible trouble. It’s about a young man who, in order to save her, entered a dark, violent world he’d avoided for so long.
He now stands in the dock and wants to tell you the truth. He needs you to believe him. Will you?
I listened to the audio version of this book. I’ll be honest, it took me a little by surprise, the nature of the story meaning you needed to suspend disbelief maybe a little. But the story itself, and the narration, even the styling so very much in line with the nature of a court case, was refreshingly original and the actor, Adam Deacon, absolutely perfect.
Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up.
Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman …
A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…
A fantastically gothic mystery that will totally give you the willies. There are echoes of The Haunting Of Hill House about this book which will have you questioning your own logic at times, never mind that of poor old Ran.
Charlie Fox will never forget the men who put a brutal end to her military career, but she vowed a long time ago she would not go looking for them.
Now she doesn’t have a choice.
Her boss and former lover, Sean Meyer, is missing in Iraq where one of those men was working as a private security contractor. When the man’s butchered body is discovered, Charlie fears that Sean may be pursuing a twisted vendetta on her behalf.
Sean’s partner in their exclusive New York close-protection agency needs this dealt with—fast and quiet—before everything they’ve worked for is in ruins. He sends Charlie to the Middle East with very specific instructions:
Find Sean Meyer and stop him. By whatever means necessary.
At one time Charlie thought she knew Sean better than she knew herself, but it seems he’s turned into a violent stranger. As the trail grows more bloody, Charlie realises that unless she can get to Sean first, the hunter may soon become the hunted.
My first Charlie Fox thriller and had me wondering just what the hell I’ve been doing with my life. Tough, resilient and a bloody great character, I’ll be heading back to catch up on Ms Fox’s adventures now I’ve read this one.
After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies.
Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash.
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Everything about this book is wrong which makes it so perfectly right. You shouldn’t feel for the main character and yet you do. You should hate Bragi, and yet you don’t. And as for the scenes in London. Well I do love a nice Kitty. Brilliant. Can’t wait for book 2.
What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger … because of you?
Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace.
But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.
Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter.
Oh, ho, ho, ho – this book! What a twisted tale and had me totally blindsided. I thought I knew. I was such a fool. Loved it. Highly recommended.
They thought that they had all the power, until she took it from them.
A killer hunts abusive spouses, blogging about their sins post-kill. Soon the murders and the brazen journaling draws the attention of Police Scotland’s CID.
This killer works with surgical preparation, precision and skill, using a unique weapon of her own and never leaves a trace of evidence behind.
Edinburgh’s DI Kathy McGuire, nearing the end of her career, begins the hunt for the murderer as a media frenzy erupts. But McGuire might have met her match…
What has led this killer to take the law into her own hands?
Is the woman accountable really a cold-hearted killer or a desperate vigilante?
Stone cold killer or justice warrior. She is as cool as they come but there is so much more to Alice. Her story may floor you, her methods floor many. Her victims … read the book and you decide.
The boy studied the bruise turning yellow at the base of his neck. With quick fingers his mother tightened his tie, and pulled his collar high above it. Her eyes alone said, We will not speak of this…
Years later, a man is found shot dead in a local park. On his phone is a draft text: I can’t keep this secret any longer. The recipient is unnamed.
Detective Robyn Carter knows this secret is the key to the case, but his friends and family don’t offer any clues, and all her team have to go on is a size-ten footprint.
Then a nurse is found in a pool of blood at the bottom of her staircase, and a seemingly insignificant detail in her friend’s statement makes Robyn wonder: are the two bodies connected, and has the killer only just begun?
When another body confirms Robyn’s worst fears, she realises she’s in a race against time to stop the killer before they strike again. But just as she thinks she’s closing in, one of her own team goes missing.
Buried in the past is a terrible injustice. Can Robyn uncover the truth before another life is lost?
I’ll be honest – I could have chosen any of this series for the list and this one is here by virtue of being the latest release. There is such an emotional story behind this one that it will tug at your heartstrings while still giving you all the action fix you need. And Robyn Carter is definitely one of my favourite crime fighting heroines.
One man is dead.
But thousands were his victims.
Can a single murder avenge that of many?
Scarborough Bluffs, Toronto: the body of Christopher Drayton is found at the foot of the cliffs. Muslim Detective Esa Khattak, head of the Community Policing Unit, and his partner Rachel Getty are called in to investigate. As the secrets of Drayton’s role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims surface, the harrowing significance of his death makes it difficult to remain objective. In a community haunted by the atrocities of war, anyone could be a suspect. And when the victim is a man with so many deaths to his name, could it be that justice has at long last been served?
In this important debut novel, Ausma Zehanat Khan has written a compelling and provocative mystery exploring the complexities of identity, loss, and redemption.
The back story to this novel will move even the hardest of readers. Coupled with highly intriguing central characters and a fluid and impressive writing style, I loved this as a start to a series I am keen to continue following.
So that is it. My full bookvent list of 2017 reads that I highly recommend. Join me over the next few days where I’ll be sharing a few more of my bookish recommendations and all the #booklove. And for a reminder of my other #bookvent recommendations you can find my recap post here.
Happy #bookvent reading all